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Spring Festivals & Birding

Spring Festivals & Birding

Spring has sprung in Louisiana! We can officially brush off the chill of winter and welcome the sun, flowers, wildlife and festivals of spring!

 

Calcasieu/Cameron Parishes
www.visitlakecharles.org

Spring is the perfect time for birding and nature enthusiasts to visit Lake Charles/ Southwest Louisiana. Located on the convergence of the Mississippi and Central flyways, you can witness over 400 different bird species at any of the wildlife refuges located along the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road as well as eco-tours offered by Grosse Savanne Eco-tours. After a day on the marsh, unwind at one of our many spring festivals and outdoor music events. Enjoy all you can eat crawfish along with Cajun and Zydeco music at the DownTown Crawfish Festival, celebrate our pirate history at the Louisiana Pirate Festival, or have a toe-tapping time at the Downtown at Sundown concert series.

Iberia Parish
www.iberiatravel.com

Explore the Iberia Parish Birding Trail in the heart of the Atchafalaya Basin, America’s largest river swamp. Birding areas of interest include Lake Fausse Pointe State Park, Jungle Gardens/Avery Island, New Iberia City Park, Jefferson Island Rip’s Rookery and Spanish Lake. The new Tabasco factory tour on the island includes a nature conservancy exhibit featuring local wildlife and Jungle Gardens offers guided birding tours by appointment. Lake Martin is another beautiful habitat for wading birds, waterfowl and alligators, just outside of Iberia Parish on Hwy. 31 between Parks and Breaux Bridge. Birding guides are available.

Celebrate Ernest J. Gaines, James Lee Burke and other writers at the Books Along The Teche Literary Festival with literary panels, a book fair, an academic symposium, reader’s response theater, music, local cuisine, Dave Robicheaux tours and a 5K run. El Festival Espanol honors New Iberia’s Spanish roots with a gala, "Running of the Bulls" 5K and 1 mile fun run, re-enactment of the arrival of the Spanish on Bayou Teche, paella and tapas cookoff, arts and crafts, musical and dance performances, children's activities, cemetery tour, genealogy displays, guest lectures, exhibits and more. Cruisin Cajun Country Cruise In takes you on a classic and muscle car cruise to experience the area's hottest attractions, award-winning Main Street historic district, food and live music, while spectators enjoy free car shows and entertainment.

Jefferson Parish
www.visitjeffersonparish.com

Spring is one of the most beautiful times of the year to visit Jefferson Parish. See the wildflowers blooming in the Barataria Preserve! Catch a New Orleans Baby Cakes AAA baseball game! Enjoy crawfish at one of our many cook-offs! And, pass a good time at our family-friendly spring festivals!

Lafreniere Live Spring Concert Series: Thursdays, April 5-May 3

 

Concerts are free and from 6:30PM-8:30PM at the Al Copeland Meader Concert Stage at Lafreniere Park.

Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival: April 20-22

See songbirds in oak-hackberry woods, shorebirds and waders on beaches and in the marshes and raptors overhead. Grand Isle is an essential stop for songbirds during their spring and fall migrations across the Gulf of Mexico. The celebration is held annually to correspond with peak bird migration in April. Last year, 168 different bird species were identified during the three-day event.

Highlights of this year’s event include daily, expert-led bird watching tours on the Grand Isle Birding Trail, Elmer’s Island and the Grand Isle State Park. Visitors can watch the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries catch migrating songbirds for weighing and measuring before release in Lafitte Woods Preserve and later tour the new LDWF Fisheries Research Lab.

Kayak tours through the island’s mangroves and boat tours to pelican-rookery Queen Bess Island will also be offered as well as walking tours of the island’s historical homes.

Kenner’s Italian Heritage Festival: April 20-22

 

Celebrate the rich Italian heritage of Kenner with live music, delicious food, rides, games and crafts!

Deanie's Seafood Pinch A Palooza: April 22

 

Just in time for crawfish season, Deanie’s Seafood Restaurant presents the 9th-annual Pinch A Palooza Festival & Crawfish Eating Contest on on Sun., April 22 at Deanie’s Seafood Restaurant & Seafood Market in Bucktown. Pinch A Palooza 2018 will feature live performances by The Topcats, Bucktown All-Stars, Vince Vance & The Valiants, Cowboy Mouth, and more—plus the 9th-annual Pinch A Palooza Crawfish Eating Contest!

Westwego Crawfish Cook-off: May 5

Bring your chairs and blankets to the Westwego Farmers & Fisheries Market and see live music by Craig Wolverton Band featuring Tuzack Martin & Brad Sapia Band, and all you can eat crawfish!

Lafourche Parish
lacajunbayou.com

All up and down the Bayou in Lafourche Parish you'll find many species of birds enjoying the spring weather. Taking a swamp or airboat tour is a great way to see eagles, egrets, and other local birds. Taking a scenic drive is also a relaxing way to catch a glimpse of your favorites. 

Festivals really gear up beginning in April with the Lockport Food Festival and peak in May and June with the Thibodaux Firemen's Fair, Mud Bug Boil Off, and the Cajun Heritage Festival. Cajun food, music, and culture is weaved into all the festivals in Louisiana's Cajun Bayou so you're sure to experience some authentic Cajun hospitality. 

St. Mary Parish
www.cajuncoast.com

 

Spring is an excellent time for birdwatching on the Cajun Coast. The Atchafalaya Swamp basin is a migratory fly-way and an opportunity to not only add birds to your life list – but view some great wildlife.  In addition to migratory birds, you may get a glimpse of eagles soaring above.  Spring is a great time to not only enjoy the sites but a great time to listen to the sounds of mother nature.  Tour the St. Mary Birding Loop along the America’s Wetlands Birding Trail.

St. Tammany Parish/Louisiana’s Northshore
www.louisiananorthshore.com

St. Tammany Parish is a year-round destination for wildlife explorers, but April is prime birdwatching time as enthusiasts descend on the Northshore to witness the spring migration from Mexico and South America, with more than one million birds reaching the Louisiana coast each spring.

 

St. Tammany Parish has more than 80,000 acres of wildlife preserve, held in areas like the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area, the Big Branch National Wildlife Reserve and the Nature Conservancy’s Abita Flatwood Preserve. Birders can be on the lookout for seasonal visitors like the scarlet tanager, indigo bunting, ruby-throated hummingbirds, raptors and orioles. Resident birds, include great blue herons, great and snowy herons, white ibis, numerous hawk species, the rare red-cockaded woodpecker and seven other species of woodpecker, and many others.

 

One of the premier birdwatching events in the US, the Great Louisiana BirdFest takes place April 13-15 in and around the Northlake Nature Center. With unique birding trips on foot or via pontoon boat or paddled canoes, the photography workshop, as well as the BirdFest Social to close the weekend, BirdFest 2018 is not to be missed.

 

Guided tours of Honey Island Swamp in Slidell also offer plenty of opportunities for birdwatchers to see a host of waterfowl species alongside alligators, turtles, wild boar and much more. Containing mixed hardwoods and much swamp habitat, the area is within the Mississippi flyway and is bounded by the West and East Pearl River, making it a particularly good migratory route because birds tend to follow these north/south running rivers as they migrate to their summer homes.With idyllic weather, April in St. Tammany also happens to be a great time for festivals, outdoor concerts and more. Be sure to book your stay soon at www.louisiananorthshore.com.

Vermilion Parish
www.Vermilion.org

April 5, April 12: Sounds in the Square Spring Concert Series. Magdalen Square, Abbeville. A free, live music concert series held under the majestic oaks of Magdalen Square with refreshments sold by Allumé Society. 5:30-8:30 pm. 337-898-6600, 337-893-4110.

 

April 7: 8th Annual “Stir the Pot: Seafood Cook-off and Festival.” Palmetto Island State Park, Abbeville. Live music, seafood and wild game cook-off, nature talks, live auction, raffle and more. 10 am-5 pm. Admission $10, kids 12 and under $5, kids under 3, free. 337-523-5224, www.friendsofpalmetto.org

Learn more about birding in Vermilion Parish here!

 

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